Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BRISTED, John, clergyman, born in Dorsetshire, England, in 1778; died in Bristol, Rhode Island, 23 February, 1855. He was the son of a clergyman of the established church. After being graduated at Winchester College, he studied medicine in Edinburgh, and took a two years' course of law in the office of the celebrated Chitty. He removed to the United States in 1806, practiced law in New York City for several years with success, and married, in 1820, a daughter of John Jacob Astor. He stuD. Divinity under Dr. (afterward Bishop) Griswold, then rector of St. Michael's, Bristol, Rhode Island, and in 1828 was ordained and made the rector's assistant. In 1829 Dr. Griswold removed to Massachusetts, and Mr. Bristed became his successor as rector of the parish, where he remained until 1843. In 1807 he conducted the "Monthly Magazine," and in 1814 delivered an oration on "The Utility of Literary Establishments." His publications include "A Pedestrian Tour through Part of the Highlands in Scotland in 1801" (2 vols., 1804); "The Adviser, or the Moral and Literary Tribunal" (4 vols., London, 1802); "Critical and Philosophical Essays" (1804); "The System of the Society of Friends Examined" (1805); "Edward and Anna," a novel (1805); "Hints on the National Bankruptcy of Great Britain" (New York, 1809); "Resources of the British Empire" (1811); "Resources of the United States" (New York, 1818; reprinted in London, under the title of "America and her Resources," 1818); and "Thoughts on the Anglican and Anglo-American Churches," a reply to Mr. Wilkes's work on "Correlative Claims and Duties" (New York and London, 1823). An English reviewer of his "Resources of the United States," which was published about the same time that Sydney Smith asked his famous question, "Who reads an American book?" referred to the "unsubstantial prospect with which the prophetic folly that ever accompanies democracy had impressed his mind to a degree almost equaling that of the vain people with whom he had domiciled." --His son, Charles Astor, author, born in New York City, 6 October, 1820; d in Washington, District of Columbia, 15 January, 1874. He was graduated at Yale with honors in 1839, and afterward spent five years in Trinity College, Cambridge, England, where he was graduated in 1845, taking numerous prizes and being made a foundation scholar of the College. In 1847 he married the daughter of Henry Brevoort, and traveled extensively in Europe, amusing himself by writing for newspapers and periodicals, on social and ephemeral topics, generally over the pen name of " Carl Benson." There was a cynical tone in many of his writings, which increased as he grew older. Classical subjects, poetical themes, and social sketches were treated with equal ease; he did not hesitate to discuss any topic, great or small, that struck his fancy, and his wide culture and profound scholarship made his essays attractive to readers of light literature. Mr. Bristed was one of the trustees of the Astor library from its origin. After spending many years in Europe, at its gayest capitals and resorts, where he was the associate of many eminent men of the time, he returned to this country, and made his home in Washington. His second wife, who survives him, is a member of the Sedgwick family. Bristed's published works comprise "Selections from Catullus," by an Eton assistant master, which he revised, adding notes of his own (1849); "Letters to Horace Mann," being a reply to some strictures on the characters of Girard and Astor, entitled "Thoughts for a Young Man" (1850); "The Upper Ten Thousand," a series of sketches of :New York society life, first printed in "Fraser's Magazine" (New York, 1852); "Five Years in an English University" (1852). To this last volume were added in an appendix his College orations and essays, together with specimen examination-papers (new ed., enlarged, New York, 1872). He also published the "Interference Theory of Government" (New York, 1867), and "Pieces of a Brokendown Critic" (New York, 1874).
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